Interview with Suzi Zutic
Suzi, your ‘Fifteen’ piece, ‘A Marquise for Madame de Pompadour’, is a delicious tribute to one of history’s most fabulously notorious women. How did she first come to inspire the creation of this incredible ring for our ‘Fifteen’ exhibition?
I’d been reading about the history and fashioning of gemstones. I was particularly interested in knowing about some of the older cuts that are not as popular as they once were, such as the Marquise cut. You don’t see it very often anymore. It tends to show up as an accent stone or accompaniment to more fashionable cuts. The naming of gem cuts also prompted my curiosity and I wanted to find out the history behind some of those names. That’s when I read the story behind this amazing, albeit controversial woman, Marquise de Pompadour or Jean Antoinette Poisson, influential mistress to the French King Louis XV. She was also a passionate patron of literature and the decorative arts. The Marquise cut, which is also known as the Naivette cut, was commissioned by King Louis as a gift to Madame de Pompadour. As the story goes, the King asked his court jeweller to fashion a diamond to mimic the beautiful shape of his mistress’ lips. I thought I’d celebrate the 15 years of gift giving and storytelling at e.g.etal by referencing this historical act of gift giving as well as acknowledging Madame de Pompadour’s patronage of the arts.
Madame de Pompodour was definitely a lady accustomed to receiving gifts. What’s the most beautiful or meaningful gift you’ve ever been given?
I gave myself a very fancy gift a few months ago! I purchased an immaculately preserved 19th century walnut piano stool. I don’t play the piano, but it’s the perfect height as a stool for my workbench.
Where do you find most of your ideas come from?
That is a diffiult question because I am usually influenced by many things at any given time. But in terms of the majority of my work, it is history or the past where I draw inspiration: the act of storytelling, the mystery and wonder of what is no longer here, how we document what has gone before, and how we keep the past alive through the collection of objects and artefacts. It’s an important part of our makeup as human beings to document and attempt to preserve the past.